I’ll admit it. When I started my online adventures one year ago, I was scared. I had just been laid off from my architecture job, and to top it off I was engaged and getting married a few months later. Just to clarify, I wasn’t scared of getting married, I was scared of not being able to provide for my wife and I after we were married. I feared failing, and letting down not only my family, but myself too.
It’s okay to be scared though. Fear is one of the most primitive human emotions that’s built into us so we can survive. You can’t really get rid of something like that, you can only learn how to deal with it by first understanding why it’s there and then saying to it, “Hey Fear, thanks for the heads up. I know you’re trying to protect me, but I’m all good.”
Of course, there may be situations in your life where you should listen to fear, but when it comes to you wanting to achieve something that you really want, you can’t let fear stand in your way. Here are 3 ways that I’ve learned to overcome fear, which can be applied not only to your online adventures, but life in general too.
1. What’s the Worst That Can Happen, Really?
Fear has a funny way of blurring out reality. One thing that has helped me overcome many fears, from starting my online business to speaking in front of large crowds, was to think to myself, “what’s the worst that can happen, really?” You’ll often find that the worst thing that could happen in reality isn’t that bad at all.
So, you’re thinking about writing an eBook and selling it on your blog, for example. What’s the worst that can happen, really?
Well of course, the worst thing that could happen is that you get sued for copying another book word for word, but of course you’re not going to do that. The worst thing that could happen in reality is that you spend a considerable amount of time on your eBook, sell it, and end up with zero sales. Is life over after that? No way. You take what you’ve learned, and apply it to your next project. Failure is not being unsuccessful. Failure is not learning from your mistakes.
Here’s a personal example:
A while back, I had to give a speech in front of nearly 300 people. I was scared, but then I thought, “What’s the worst that can happen, really?”
Well of course the worst thing that could happen is that as I’m speaking my pants fall down, and then I knock over the mic stand, which triggers a spark that ignites the gas that’s been leaking into the room for the last hour and we all explode and die, but of course that’s not going to happen. The worst thing that could happen in reality is that I stumble with a few words, or maybe even pause at awkward moments. Is life over after that? No way. Oh, and after that particular speech, I was elected the Student Director of the University of California Marching Band.
Don’t let fear change reality.
2. Know What to Expect.
Many of us fear the unfamiliar. This is why we’re afraid of the dark, why we don’t like change, and why we’re scared to do business online. One of the best ways to overcome fear is to familiarize yourself with what you’re unfamiliar with.
You can read as many books as you want to try and familiarize yourself with something, but nothing beats fear to the ground more than talking to someone about it who has been there before.
I’ve never skydived, but I’ve definitely thought about it. If I ever seriously consider doing it, you can be sure I’ll be asking all of my friends who have done it before what it was like and what to expect.
When you’re starting out online, know that it’s okay to ask for help, especially from those who you admire and want to emulate. Many of those people will be more than happy to share their experiences and help you know what to expect. That is partly the reason why I created this blog.
Here’s another personal example:
I’m having a baby boy soon. He’s due on January 22nd, 2010. I’ve NEVER held a baby before in my entire life. To familiarize myself with this whole experience, I’m taking a Basic Training for New Dads class here in San Diego before our son is born. It’s held by experienced dads, and there will actually be real babies there to practice holding and changing diapers with. This way, when little Keoni is born, I’ll know exactly what to expect.
Counter fear with knowledge.
3. Just freakin’ do it!
I’m sure you know this already, but the best way to overcome fear is just to do whatever it is you’re scared of. Of course, that’s easier said than done – but it’s true.
You should always take time to do the proper research before you get into any kind of business, but there comes a point where you should just do it and stop wasting time trying to figure everything out. Here’s a quote that I love from Jason Van Orden, co-host of the Internet Business Mastery Podcast and someone who I really admire:
Breaking through to the next level always takes a leap of faith. You calculate ROI as best as you can, then make the jump.
In addition to that, you have to think about the possibilities you’re opening up for yourself by breaking through. Although I was scared, I now have a 6-figure income from my online business and can spend time at home with my family whenever I want. If I was too scared and didn’t make the decision to do business online, I don’t know where I’d be today.
In an earlier post, I mentioned how I was sort of spreading myself thin with the multitude of projects I have going on at the same time. I’m now focusing my energy on something much bigger while putting aside some of the other things I’ve been working on. I’d like to share with you in my next post exactly what I’m up to. It’s going to be a fun ride.